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The Best Yacht Rock Songs For Cocktail Hour At Your Wedding

30 July 2017

Your cocktail hour has no limits to what it can be like. In today's post, the wedding cocktail hour playlist selections go back to the mid to late 1970s up until the early-mid 80s soft rock era.  If you are really into your music, you might remember sort of a cult following that developed after a video series showed up online back about 2005.  The genre "Yacht Rock" was coined. Rolling Stone posted a great piece about the 10th anniversary of the coining of the term. Catch that article by clicking right HERE   As one of the best Charleston Wedding DJs, it's always been my goal to provide my clients with the most diverse selection of music for their most special day. Yacht Rock will continue to be a popular choice for wedding playlists for many years to come.  Enjoy this first volume of the Yacht Rock Wedding Cocktail Hour playlist.

 You don't need to be at the James Island Yacht club or the Charleston Yacht club to enjoy this Yacht Rock playlist as it is the perfect fit for any type of cocktail hour you desire on your wedding day. These are just a few of my personal picks, but you are free to select any of the music from the following artists as these came up in my research for the purpose of publishing this post.  Yacht Rock offers a chill vibe with artists from the 70s and 80s and may make you want to revisite more music from that era.  Are you on Spotify? Feel free to follow me there by looking for DJ Mike Bills. If you don't have a Spotify account and still want to test drive these songs, just click the link in the song title to pull up the You Tube to begin jamming to all this great Yacht Rock.


"You're The Biggest Part Of Me" | Ambrosia 
Released as a single in 1980 by this band from Southern California, it reached Number 3 on the Billboard chart and became a mainstay on adult contemporary radio stations in the 1980s.  This integral artist in rotation on Adult Contemporary radio in the 80s also scored a #1 song on the Radio And Records chart.

"Sailing" | Christopher Cross
It wouldn't be "yacht rock" without a song about being on a boat. :) You could not turn the radio on in 1980 without hearing Christopher Cross. This song hit Number 1 at the end of the summer in 1980.  The song would come in at #32 on the Year End charts in 1980.

"What A Fool Believes" | Doobie Brothers
One of the biggest hits from their album "Minute By Minute", which was actually released in 1978.  I can vaguely remember this song ruling the radio in 1979 as I was getting ready to turn 6 years old. It won song of the year and will sound awesome on your Yacht Rock playlist.

"New Kid In Town" | The Eagles
The first track to be released off their mega album "Hotel California" in late 1976. Just a chill vibe to this song from another great southern California band. The song would peak at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1977 and #2 on the Adult contemporary chart.

"Take The Long Way Home" | Supertramp

One of my personal favorites off their huge release "Breakfast In America". Supertramp had a unique sound  with Roger Hodgson on vocals. "Take The Long Way home" would peak at #10 at the latter part of 1979, and #4 in Canada. This song, in my opinion is one of Supertramp's signature songs.

I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near) | Michael McDonald
Solo Michael McDonald after his exit from The Doobie Brothers has that distinct "Yacht rock" sound.  "I Keep Forgettin" was released in the summer of 1982 and became one of the signature songs in Michael McDonald's career and reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

"You Make Loving Fun" | Fleetwood Mac
We could put this entire record, Rumors (one of the biggest selling of all time) on this playlist, but we'll start with this one and maybe get together an "Fleetwood Mac" wedding cocktail hour playlist in the coming weeks. This last single to hit radio from their mega album "Rumours" would peak at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100.

 "Reminiscing" | Little River Band
Peaking at number 3 in 1978 in the United States, it was this Australian bands biggest song in America, and perfect for this Yacht rock playlist.

"Hey Nineteen" | Steely Dan
Walter Becker and Donald Fagen ruled the 70s with their distinct, but by 1980, they were ready for a break. Before their break, they released the album "Gaucho", which had this Yacht Rock classic on it. "Hey Nineteen" would peak at #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

"Cool Night" | Paul Davis
The late Paul Davis also had a soft rock hit in 1977 called "I Go Crazy", and as we turned over to a new decade, the early 80s saw Paul with more hits like this on adult contemporary, soft rock radio.  "Cool night" would go all the way to Number 2 on the Adult contemporary chart in early 1982.

"IGY - (What A Beautiful World) | Donald Fagen
After the break-up of Steely Dan in 1980 or 1981, Donald Fagen went on to release quite the masterpiece "The Nightfly" in 1982. Check it out by clicking the link in the song title and add this to your Yacht Rock cocktail hour playlist over at the Daniel Island Club.  Released in September of 1982, the song would peak at #8 on the Adult contemporary charts.

"This Is It" | Kenny Loggins
Back in 1979, Kenny Loggins would release his album Keep The Fire. "This Is It" was the first song to be released from the album and would peak at #11 on the Hot 100, as well as #17 on the adult contemporary chart. 

"Steal Away" | Robbie Dupree
One of the biggest songs in the summer of 1980. VH1 also put this on their list of the greatest one-hit wonders of all time. Why don't we steal away into the night........ Released in the spring of 1980, "Steal Away" would go all the way to #6 on the Billboard Hot 100.

"Rosanna" | Toto
Quintessential yacht rock right here ladies and gentlemen. Released in 1982 off Toto IV, this is definitely one to add to the Yacht Rock cocktail hour over at Kiawah Island Resort. The song would go all the way to Number 2 on the Hot 100 and stay there for 5 weeks.

"I'm Alright" | Kenny Loggins
How could Bill Murray and Yacht Rock have anything in common? This classic by Kenny Loggins was in the 1980 movie classic "CaddyShack" which starred Chevy Chase and Bill Murray, just to name a few. Released in the summer of 1980, this song would peak at #7 on the Hot 100 and is the perfect conversational piece should Bill Murray just so happen to show up at your Charleston wedding.

"You've Lost That Loving Feeling" | Hall & Oates
An excellent of the classic Righteous Brothers tune, it was released in the fall of 1980 on their album "Voices".  Also check out "Kiss On My List" and "You Make My Dreams" on this record as well.  The song hit radio in early 1980 and would rise all the way to #12 on the Hot 100. Click the link in the song title to take a listen right now or check out my Yacht Rock playlist on Spotify.

"You're The Only Woman" | Ambrosia
Ambrosia may be featured in this Yacht Rock Cocktail Hour Wedding Playlist, but David Pack's voice was heard all over adult contemporary radio  stations in the 80s and 90s. Back in the summer of 1980, "You're The Only Woman" would be released from their album One Eighty and be the last Top 20 single for the band.  The song would peak at #13 on the Hot 100, but break into the Top 5 on the adult contemporary chart. For more of the Best 80s Soft Rock Songs <-----Click HERE

 "Just Remember I Love You" | Firefall
Released in 1977, it spent 2 weeks on the Easy Listening chart and a perfect addition to the chill, laid back of this cocktail playlist. Check it out by clicking the link in the song title. 

 "Southern Cross" | Crosby, Stills & Nash
Crosby, Stills & Nash is not widely known as a "yacht rock" artist, but the content of this song and vibe fit this playlist, so I thought I would add it in. "Southern Cross" would break into the Top 20 on the Hot 100 back in December 1982.

"So Into You" | Atlanta Rhythm Section
Atlanta Rhythm Section were based out of Doraville, which is in Dekalb County (right outside of the greater Atlanta, GA area. "So Into You" would become the signature song of Atlanta Rhythm Section. Released in 1977 from their album A Rock And Roll Alternative. The song would peak at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100.  You can also find The Atlanta Rhythm Section on my Southern Rock Cocktail Hour Playlist For Weddings too.

Wanna See If Mike Is Available To Be Your Charleston Wedding DJ?
This should be a good start for you in creating your perfect Yacht Rock playlist for your upcoming Charleston wedding.  There are so many songs that I am leaving out that could be included, but it's only really supposed to be for an "hour", so this is an excellent representation.  I really enjoy making these compilations for my prospective brides and grooms and I hope that they give you some great ideas when you sit down to start brainstorming how you want the music to be like for your upcoming Charleston wedding. If you'd like to go grab coffee and talk music, be sure to click the link up above and you'll be taken over to my contact form so that you can fill out some of the details for your big day and we can set up a time to discuss the music for your big day. I look forward to sitting down with you about your wedding.